"Kadosh Kadosh and Cursed," written for fourteen players, was world-premiered on October 22, 2020, during the 2020 Azrieli Music Music Prizes Gala concert at Bourgie Hall in Montreal, Canada. The work was performed by Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and conductor Lorraine Vaillancourt.
"My idea was to compose a dramatic piece that combines compositional systems and soundscapes that might seem impossible or challenging to musically integrate," Yitzhak Yedid told The Violin Channel.
"In particular, the elements I was interested in including were the Arabic Maqamat system, ancient non-European music, avant-garde methods, Sephardic Jewish cantorial music, and heterophonic textures, as well as folk-like tone qualities and seemingly improvised music. Each of these systems is, of course, greatly substantial in their own rights and carries a long tradition. In composing the piece, I asked myself: 'Could these traditions possibly integrate, and should they? Can a musical thread be created with such diversity and is that kind of integration necessary?'
"The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is a ca. 3,000-year-old site, and in my work 'Kadosh Kadosh and Cursed,' I took inspiration from the contradictions of how people have acted in this holy place over the years. It is a place of worship and a place where sacred music can be heard, but also a place where crises and violence have occurred during its 3,000 years of existence.
"The aesthetic of 'Kadosh Kadosh and Cursed' varies between vulgarity, roughness, and schizophrenia on one hand, and beautiful, polished vocal-like Middle Eastern melodies that sparkle on the other hand.
"The piece is highly virtuosic and very energetic. It attempts to address questions such as: 'What are we doing to ourselves when fighting with one another? Shouldn't religion and worship be peaceful? Shouldn't people be tolerant of one another in a holy place?'
"Unfortunately there have been ongoing crises at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for over 3,000 years, and at the time I was writing the piece there was a violent incident that I could not ignore.
"The Azrieli Music Prizes are among the most valuable and most meaningful awards in the world for composers and it was the ‘right place’ for me to present a piece that dealt with such complexities.
"My aim, in general, is always to be completely transparent in my work. That means not holding back any emotions and instead, composing music that completely follows how I feel. I also do not tend to think much about how my music will be perceived by listeners or if my work will be accessible for the players who perform it.
"My hope is that my music will spark great interest, both sonically and intellectually. Sonically, I wish the listeners to have an explicit sound experience — a combination of tone qualities and music they have never heard before. From an intellectual point of view, I hope the listeners will look at the wider context of my work — where it is coming from, how it is formed, and what the sources are."
The Azrieli Music Prizes created in 2014 by the Azrieli Foundation presents three categories, the Azrieli Commission for Canadian Music, the Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music, and the Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music. The 2022 Azrieli Music Prize laureates will be announced on November 4.